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 Exploring Alec's Room

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Exploring Alec's Room Empty
PostSubject: Exploring Alec's Room   Exploring Alec's Room EmptyThu Jul 30, 2015 5:48 pm

In the corridor that lead to the rooms of every tavern occupant of the Crook and Horns, there remained one room that, for the past few months, had been left nigh untouched. Like a haunted house, the eerie corner of the inn was a single-room with two beds, a table, a dresser, and a single damaged window. This was all that was obvious, for all the rooms in this tavern held about the same design. But today, something was off about this room in particular.

Abandoned it may be, but none had dared set foot near it. So, the sight of the door pushed inward was both foreign and frightening; now and then, a stray child wandered near and dared to peek through the cracks, chancing his luck. A chill seemed to send each child away with a shriek. Regular travelers and occupants seemed content to merely pass by and glance at the crack in the door, and at times, gawk at some phantom apparition that may or may not have been there.

And by flight, fright or simple word of mouth, the news that Mr. Smith's room has been left open may have reached Kira's ears...

Of course, it wasn't just Kira's ears that had been graced with that knowledge. Several people were sitting around the tavern- far more than usual- taking turns at trying to enter the room. As one may have guessed, they always returned in terror, pale and empty-handed.

The door to the corridor was open, practically inviting anyone curious and brave enough to wander past the room in question.

It had been some time since Kira had heard that particular rumor, and not so long since she'd seen many a soul come back from the corridor looking a little less colorful than when they had entered. Up until now, she'd not really thought much of it, nor had she seen it a worthy reason to part with her mead. Today, however, Hanard hadn't returned and there was a strange lack of anyone interesting. She eventually heaves herself from her seat at the bar, and lets out a long sigh as she turns to head to the source of all this strangeness. What's the worst that could happen?

Traveling down the corridor, Kira would see a familiar sight: All the doors were shut, and the hall was empty, as it often was. There was just one door on the right with a slight crack in the door frame. His door. There came not a sound from the hall, and approaching the door in question would bring about an eerie and unnatural silence, considering that it was still rather close to the common room.

She wouldn't sense it unless she made an effort to, but knowing that this room belonged to Alec, Kira would probably realize it was bound to contain magic of some kind.

Kira spots the room after standing at the entrance to the corridor for a good few seconds. Perhaps it's just her mind, but she can't help but feel unease and a naturally occurring caution as she closes the door behind her quietly. Furrowing her brow and rolling up her short sleeves a little more, she begins towards the door.

She's oblivious to any magic, even as she nears.

As Kira approaches, a kind of heat builds up in her. It's not the heat she'd be used to. Familiar, yes, like the heat of fire magic, but it wasn't her own. Strangely enough, it didn't feel painful, but it did seem to be coming from somewhere nearby. Somewhere on her person.

Kira seems oblivious to it for a moment, staring the door down rather intensely before she finally notices the heat closer to her than she'd like. Wheeling around as if shocked, she clenches her fists and scans the corridor with a scowl, eventually realizing that it's closer than that. Slowly, she pats herself down sheepishly, losing her scowl quickly and allowing a much more curious expression to take hold.

Thump. Tink. Tap. This object was exceptionally warm. What was it? Upon further searching and closer inspection, it was revealed to be the silver flask engraved with the name 'Alec Smith,' and it was emitting a comfortable warmth in response to... something.

She takes it in hand upon locating the source of the warmth, loosing it from her belt and raising it close to her face with a dramatic quirk of one brow. Quietly mouthing a variety of quizzical vulgarities, she keeps it in her hand and lets her arms fall back to her sides as she steps much closer to the door, moving to peer in through the crack. In the back of her mind, Alec's face appears along with the various memories she has of him, causing a very visible change of expression on her face - the sort of face you'd wear following a bad taste. She hesitates for a moment, but very quietly manages to hiss his name through the doorway, expecting some kind of result. "Oi- Smith."

Nothing. Silence. Yet, the eerie feeling was gone. As soon as the flask had been dug up, the dark aura that had been terrorizing the other occupants had suddenly disappeared, and the crack in the door was no longer giving off an imposing feeling- though, Kira may feel that way just because she was thinking of Alec.

Through the crack in the doorway, Kira can see a mattress that had yet to be tidied. On it lay an item, a book or journal of some sort, closed shut, but with strips of paper poking out the side.

Kira is indeed relaxed by the association of the room and Alec. As much as she was never his biggest fan, she couldn't help but remember him as a less than hostile figure in her life. She pushes the door confidently, going to stride through into the room with a smirk on her face as though she expects to find him hiding in a cupboard. The journal doesn't immediately capture her attention, as she seems more ardent on scanning the room with a slow and thorough gaze.

The room was bare of any signs of life. Dust had settled all over, and her very steps kicked up more of it. Kurt must have conveniently forgotten of the existence of this room, because the sheets hadn't been changed, the window left undusted- it was in stagnation.

Still, the warmth of Alec was present: a few articles of clothing like the familiar old vest, his boots, and a hat that he must've never worn; unused barrels sawn off and polished for a gun or two- they had engravings and markings of their own. Some of them gave off the odd warmth of the flask.

One of the beds in the room smelled distinctly like Alec, plus many dust bunnies. The other smelled like a bear.

And then, there was but one other body in this room: the dresser, one of wooden craft, reaching up to waist height and serving as a night stand of sorts for the two beds. It had four draws, all of them possessing locks.

But, at long last, something in the room came to life and made a noise. The locks! As Kira approached, each lock made a light click and popped open.

After eyeing the beds and wondering who else had slept on the other, Kira noticed the clothes lying about and allowed herself a faint smirk. At least that dispelled any doubt that this was Alec's room. Her eyes had only just settled on the journal, her arms comfortably midway through folding before the sound of the locks, though slight, caught her off guard in the dead silence of the room. She jumped, bringing her hands up instinctively before spotting the locks on the drawer and looking awfully confused all of a sudden. Naturally, she slowly edged closer, much more curious than cautious.

They were odd locks. Although they had the design of a plain snapping lock, there was no keyhole, and they had strange markings all over, engraved right in to the sides.

Kira paused, with a long sigh as she leaned forwards to eye the curious looking things. Bloody complex bastard's magic, she thought, shaking her head as she stood back up to attempt pulling the top drawer open with a slight, gingerly approach. This wasn't going to make sense if she didn't, surely.

The drawer slowly rolled out and slid open, coming to a halt. Visible inside were articles of clothing to the left; plain items, that is. Shirts, undershirts, pants... underwear. In the center were scrolls- the magic kind. Healing scrolls, scrolls for odd-jobs, and a neat stack of those invisibility scrolls that the Black Hawks had learned to hate. Finally, in the far right was a little palm-sized journal stacked atop a couple books, the topmost appearing to be a reference guide for magical symbols; the one beneath it was obscured and impossible to examine at the moment.

Again, holding the handle and lock of the drawer gave off that strange warmth, much like the flask.

After scanning the contents, Kira lets out another long sigh, as her hand moves to pick up the journal and flick through for anything relevant, vaguely interesting, or if she was lucky, profitable. She presses her lips together calmly, her eyebrows raising in a lighthearted manner. Were she anyone else, she'd probably hum something tuneful.

There were no words in this journal. There were only pictures. One might guess this was invented for the illiterate. The drawings within seemed to depict a set of instructions. Wait, no, there were, in fact, some words. The steps were written down beneath each image, and as one turned the pages, they could discover the entire message, either by reading or eyeing the images.

Page 1: "How to use the room" accompanied by a friendly picture of a cartoony Alec with an uncharacteristically pleasant smile.

The moment Kira's eyes find the drawn Alec, she can't help but emit a tired sounding groan, close to closing the book right there and then. She doesn't, however, spurred on by the incredibly oddity that this room is. She keeps turning the pages regardless, her brow furrowed as those treasured sour memories of the monster hunter return.

This must be a children's book with the approach that was taken in making it.

Page 1: "How to use the room" accompanied by a friendly picture of a cartoony Alec with an uncharacteristically pleasant smile.
Page 2: "Find something metal!" An image of a hand reaching for a metal object.
Page 3: "Check for markings!" An image of a ghosted metal flask being turned to another position, where a more solid flask awaited held by the hand, and another hand pointing at the markings in question. Dotted lines depicted motion.
Page 4: "Hold until warm!" An image of Alec holding the flask with another uncharacteristically cheerful and upbeat expression.
Page 5: "Move near other objects to activate." A hand holds the flask out to a metallic lock on the ground.
Page 6: "Wait for lock to heat!" An image of a pocket watch, with the hand turned 10 seconds ahead.
Page 7: "It's open!" The trapdoor, opened, with the lock released.
Page 8: "Close up when finished!" Alec closing the door with another smile!

There were only eight pages, but on the back cover, a smooth metallic feeling accompanied the small booklet, though it seemed to have lines of bumps arranged in some fashion- only this much could be understood through touch alone. It was a cool feeling, though. Not warm like the flask.

Kira stares at the instructions for a worryingly long time, flipping back and forth through the pages. She mutters each step to herself, scratching at the back of her neck and looking incredibly lost as she backs through a few pages and starts again with a loud grunt. Finally, she seems to get it, raising the flask in the one hand and looking about the room as she bites her lower lip but for a moment.

Of the unopened items in question, the journal on the bed might jump into her field of view. It was snapped shut by a metal lock with engravings similar to those on the drawer locks. The journal was resting on Alec's bed, and smelled a bit like him, as well, but with far less dust.

She makes her way over, placing aside the instructions to grab the locked journal on the bed and eye the two items now in her hand. Hesitantly, she moves them closer together, before smacking and pressing the flask to the lock with a clumsy heavy-handedness. She seems to grit her teeth, as if expecting something to go awfully wrong.

Kira is, however, incredibly anxious to get it open, hoping to find some myriad of juicy secrets within.

Kira feels the condescending stare of Alec on her shoulder. The stare alone says 'What the fuck are you doin',' or so the thought might come to mind, accent and all. Despite this thought, Alec's memory seemed to take pity on her. After denting both the flask and the lock... the lock heated up and suddenly snapped open, freeing the journal.

As if it were pulling back its own pages to the one its master had left it at, the journal opened to the last written page. If Kira took a moment to examine it, she'd notice it was a recounting of some day in the past.

Kira seems pleased with herself, nodding in approval as the lock opens, yet wondering why Alec suddenly feels so present. A quick look over her shoulder confirms he's not in the room, but even as she goes back to the journal her eyes dart about suspiciously. She's just about done replacing the flask in her left pocket before the pages open suddenly. Again, she's caught by surprise, and lets out an audible, but hushed "Fuck's sake."

As she reads, slowly and apparently with frequent difficulty on some words, she narrows her brow in concentration and lets out a breath. Occasionally, she mutters a word to herself, questioning if that's even how you spell it.

Kira's hard work would reveal an oddity to her. Just what was she reading? The beautiful cursive, written by the practiced hand of the craftsman and smith, would be recited in his voice, by Kira's memories, of course. With that in mind, the text was somehow fitting, and yet, far from the man's usual exterior; this was something he had written in the comforts of privacy.

"How does the heart turn cold?

When does it begin?

Why do we only notice when it's too late?

I went out to look for hunting opportunities today, like I always do when my legs are working. Instead, I ran into three people, and we'll ignore one of them, because she deserves a separate rant. The other two, a man and a woman, the latter of which was a tiefling. Mercenaries, they were, and a pair of opportunists. Rude, ruder than I ever could be, and lackin' in forethought. We had a scuffle, no violence, just an exchange'a words, and I left 'em a little present in the end.

Well, turns out, the man was a werewolf, and I don't know what it was, but something set him off. Might've been the grease I left him. Me and Burnie, this Sidan with a burned face, went to check it out, and we run into the Werewolf. It was a close call, for sure. I got off lucky, kept my eyes on it and maintained a space gap. Other guy wasn't so lucky, got a little close for comfort, but he did more harm to himself than the werewolf did. I think we almost killed the werewolf merc- I might've killed it for sure, truth be told, but his partner stopped me. Then, she told me the wolf was her brother.

Y'know, spitting and looking down on a guy, then expecting him to treat you nicely... is a bit of a stretch. Hell, I don't know what kept me from takin' my rifle and finishing it off. Normally, I would. He might be a human on the inside, but that human didn't look worth keeping alive, either. But, fuck if I'm gonna be the one to make a girl cry. I guess it might be Terri. Never would've considered it that much before meetin' her. I definitely wouldn't've become a monster if I killed that merc, he fits the definition of 'scum' loads better than most... but I'd probably make the chick cry, and my heart's not cold enough for that anymore.

Was my heart rekindled?"

Starting on the next page were many new lines. Dates, followed by other lines, all crossed out or scribbled over, as if the writer could no longer get his thoughts in order. The dates often jumped weeks. No clear entries were made after the final one, though there were drawings.

Kira can't help but smirk at her mention, remembering the exact event as described in the journal and that burnt faced Sidan wanker before he offed himself. After about a minute, however, she begins skimming for important details before letting out a loud and almost disgusted sounding moan. "Fuckin'- Ugh, what a load'a soft shit." Her thoughts turn to Arkhauser for a moment, finding it a little vexing how little respect the words seem to treat him with, before pressing on to see whatever else is in the journal. She studies the drawings, finding them easier to comprehend at first glance than a load of words.

Turning ahead were drawings of the various monsters Alec had seen, and no doubt, most were likely alien to Kira. They had brief descriptions, notes, with their weak points underlined and accompanied by a comment on the best approach to each one. But again, the writer's clouded thoughts jumbled between these drawings.

Nestled in between the mess were two distinct phrases that weren't crossed out, and seemed to repeat from time to time.

The first and less-common one was 'What is a monster?' and it seemed to pop up often. The other phrase, the one written lightheartedly at first, but later, etched in with more force, was an eerie phrase. 'Am I a monster?'

The four words were repeated with increasing frequency toward the final written pages.

Kira regards the monsters with confusion, often turning the book different ways and holding it further away as if to better understand what she was seeing. Needless to say, she doesn't recognize a single one from her time in the world. She finds the two phrases eventually, pacing around the room as she reads with metronomic, slow footsteps. As the phrases become questioning, she stops dead in her tracks, to scrutinize and re-read the words in confusion. Slowly, she lowers the book, looking blankly on at the wall with a sudden epiphany written on her face. Her eyes look about the room before finally going back to the page, "I knew it. Y' went crazy, didn't y'?"

She doesn't expect an answer, skimming to the back of the journal to try and find any final significance. "Fuckin' Alec Smith."

At the back of the book was something unexpected. There were more drawings, but not of monsters. First, there were sketches; landscape art, still life. Then, schematics, designs of guns he possessed- Kira may have seen the first two before: Spitfire and Sunflare. After them came a page with sketches- headshots in particular, of people. No, not people. Girls.

They were all mostly familiar faces. The notes seemed not to flatter most of them. Alec didn't seem to like most of the girls he ran into- so, why he kept a record of them was hard to say. Nevertheless, there were a few that received good marks and comments. Kira was in here, too. A remarkably accurate and detailed portrait of her- who knows how he pulled off drawing this one- rested in one corner, followed by some writing beneath it.

Name: Kira Fyne
Occupation: Bastard Mercenary
Strengths: Looks cute when angry; can't say no to her pouts.
Weakness: Easy to tease. Enjoys good company.
Best Approach: Avoid when with other bastard mercenaries. Discuss magic and her social awkwardness.
Longterm Goal: Get her to stop scowling all the time.

Kira quickly notices her little entry, skimming past virtually everyone else on the page to marvel at her portrait for at least ten seconds. Her eyebrows drop, as she turns her head slightly and reassures herself that's not -really- what she looks like. It takes her a moment, but she finally moves on to the writing with incredible surprise on her face. She doesn't quite know what to make of it, going blank even after she's read the whole thing.

Slowly, she presses her lips together and lets out a stout grunt from her chest, adopting her usual irritated look and trademark scowl as she closes her eyes if only to imagine punching him in the face for a moment. In the heat of the moment, she doesn't really register that there's no-one to hear her, speaking at a normal volume as she stumbles over her first few words.

"Wh- I- Fuckin' cute? Bastard!"

She abruptly tosses the book over her shoulder, in the general direction of the bed, with little regard for its integrity. After a long sigh, she folds her arms and scowls at the wall, eventually shaking her head and muttering something angry about being called cute again.

The book hits the wall and flops down onto Alec's bed, nudging his pillow. This causes a crystal of sorts to tumble out and fall to the floor with a loud thump. Upon closer inspection, it revealed itself to be a sound shard.

Kira pauses, her scowl instantly disappearing at the sound of the loud thump. She slowly, and cautiously turns, her face painted with the look of someone expecting to see something broken. At the sight of the crystal, however, she steps over and goes to pick it up. She's never seen one before, but her eyes glint with the promise of something expensive and her pupils almost seem to widen like a cat laying eyes on a ball of yarn.

Kira's magic activated it upon touch, without her even initiating it. All of a sudden, the shard began to glow and a voice turned in; a recording began to play in the voice of the room's owner.

"This's Alec. Alec Smith, that is. Lately, it's been impossible to even get a straight thought out'a my head. I've been jottin' away at my journal, but nothin' comes. All I can think about is all the things I've killed and all the impossible-things I've done. The impossible made possible. Every day, I wonder how it is Taric and I get by. And I wonder, do I really think like a person? No, I think like something else entirely. It's a thought I just can't take. What does it take t' bring down a monster? If we're talking on the terms of pure creatures... well, in short, another monster. That answer... that answer keeps buggin' me."

The shard then went quite, but continued to glow. A faint pulsing line was slowly traveling from the bottom and moving upwards. Another recording began.

"I've been startin' to notice something about all the monsters around here. I get the strange sensation that something, or maybe somebody, is guidin' them right around Surna. Never too much, but never too little, like it wants us to kil them, n' kill them regularly. Sometimes, I even feel like I can sense shadow magic ooze off'a some of the dead... I wonder, are we just as bad as the monsters? Is something bigger out there, just herding us hunters and hunted together for the sake of bloodshed? Am I a monster, too? I can't shake this feeling. It's bad enough with Taric's curse... I think I'm going to have to leave and find some way to fix all of this..."

The shard went quiet once more. The pulsing stopped there. The crystal lost its glow and became a plain, lifeless object again.

In the first recording, Alec's voice had been shaky and muddled with some fear; probably a side of him neither Kira nor anyone else in Aeria had seen or heard before. But in the second, his voice had the ever-present hint of danger, a sign that he was pursuing something, be it a challenging monster, or some far-away goal.

Kira doesn't seem startled this time, as the voice plays out almost as if she was given a moment's notice by her unknowing activation of it. She curiously listens in, the glow reflecting in her eyes as she appears lost in his words and the subsequent mystery within. The fear in his voice is truly alien to her ears, and she has trouble believing it at first, only knowing the cocky and attemptedly charming Alec. As the second recording draws to a close, she keeps the shard held by her chest, only able to think about what she just heard.

Her blank expression clearly shows she's trying to make sense of it all, perhaps in vain. The mention of Taric's "curse" however, seems all too familiar, something she instantly pieces together.

A gust of wind airs out the remaining dust. The window was blown open; it seems it was never properly locked. As the gust blows air out, it also pushes the door shut, and it 'clicks' into place, locking itself as it was designed to; Kira could guess by now that this is how all the locks worked. There was also something odd at the foot of the window. A portion of the top of the dresser had the heel of a boot printed into it, and this same boot shaped dirt smudged into the windowsill. A pair of them, in fact. Of course, these were quite dry and had been here for some time. The window swung itself shut, and eventually locked itself in the presence of Alec's flask.

Now, the room was dead silent again and cut off from the rest of the world. There was an inexplicable feeling of safety, and the room felt warm and welcoming, like the objects around the room had occasionally felt. The bed, in particular, looked like it might be comfortable. Well, it didn't matter. No one seemed to be using this room; the magic and impression of Alec scared away those who would be inclined to enter, and Kira was clearly the first in months to enter this room, so, it may as well be hers. For now.

Kira digs her hands into her pockets, after placing the sound shard safely on the top of the dresser and patting it lightly just to make sure it doesn't do anything else. It's then she notices the boot-prints, and she bends double to inspect them with slightly widened eyes. Did he escape or something? Bah, this was giving her a headache. She stands straight again, walking back over to the bed before casting a look back over to the windowsill - and then around the room calmly. A final, quiet sigh escapes her, as she takes in the complete silence of the room. It's nice, she thinks, to finally have some isolation from the town she was growing to truly hate.

The gust makes her turn to the window and watch it curiously as it shuts again, indeed realizing how all the odd locks in the room work, but she seems not to be disturbed by it. Taking her right hand from her pocket, she waves it through the air a little, still wondering why this room feels as if Alec was inside it with her. A faint wonder grips her, and she can't help but look around for his presence still, smirking to herself.

She might recall a memory of Alec in which he explained how one made magic items. The magical craftsman put an actual portion of his own essence, his very soul, into each item he crafted. It was but a sliver of his being, but it was still Alec, and there was no denying that all the magical gizmos and trinkets here were made by his hand, and thus, possessed a fraction of him.

The memory lingers in the back of her mind, faintly looking for a way to make itself present, but she doesn't catch on just yet. Kira, first, looks down to the flask at her side, staring it down for a moment before going to seat herself at the edge of what she assumed to be Alec's bed - it didn't smell like a pack of wet dogs had slept there prior to her arrival. Or maybe, she thought to herself, that really was where he slept.

It's there she takes the flask in hand, casting her silent thoughts back to when she received it in the reflective manner she was incredibly used to when on her own. And it's then when she remembers Alec's explanation of magic items, as her brow furrows. She wonders exactly how Alec inhabits the various oddities around the room, quietly brushing a hand past her hair just in case - somehow - he's staring at her. The thought unnerves her a little, actually.

The feeling of the room doesn't change all that much, regardless of how well or poorly kept her hair is at the moment. But that was merely the feeling the room gave. The feeling Kira would experience through observance alone could tell her that at least half the room belonged to Alec, because half the room had mechanical parts and magical items, ingredients, and the like, along with his belongings. Whatever wasn't related to his work was casually layed out, either at the foot of the bed, or beside it, something like that. Whatever was work related had either already disappeared, or was neatly organized somewhere. The belongings were arranged in such a way that gave off a sense of preparation, readiness; experience. Beyond being an asshole and, at times, careless, it was an undeniable fact that Alec was an experienced veteran, and the amount of work and thought built into this room had his name all over it. In a literal sense, as well.

And this had a thought attached to it. A shred of a thought. Alec wasn't a whimsical man when it came to serious matters, and he clearly designed this room to only function with his own belongings. So, then, why was one such belonging, the silver flask, presently in Kira's possession? The thought may not have been immediate, but much like Alec's strange and unexplainable fears, it was a feeling that could not be shaken off.

Kira held the flask loosely in her hand, bobbing it up and down by the wrist with an idle thinking motion. She cast her glance about the room, thinking about everything in the clarity of mind such silence promoted. Not that she was the fastest thinker in the world, but with enough observation she could piece together what she needed, albeit with the smallest of holes quickly patched. She could only admire his professional approach, his preparation and what she could only call wisdom - qualities she knew she sorely lacked as someone in a similar enough career. He could get fucked if he ever thought she'd tell him that, though.

Quietly, she looked down to the flask. Having solved the room, more or less, there was this bloody mystery to get her head around. If it unlocked everything of his, why did he give it to her? Was it even a gift in the first place?

"Ugh," she said, as if speaking to the flask in that tired, husky tone of voice she always had, "I hope y' don't expect me t' come lookin' f' y', lad."

It almost seemed impossible, but maybe Alec Smith was in some real trouble.
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